Lexington's Cardinal Valley Elementary has received $110,000 to improve technology, the district's largest cash donation of this past school year.
Fayette County Public Schools had about 907 donors in the 2013-2014 school year, including businesses and groups such as the private Lexington-based Kloiber Foundation that gave the money to Cardinal Valley.
From July 2013 to June 11, 2014, the district received about $433,025 in addition to goods ranging from school supplies to musical instruments, food and computers, said Cheryl Neal, administrative assistant to Superintendent Tom Shelton. When a school receives a donation, it sends a request for approval to Shelton before using the money.
Cardinal Valley, which received the donation within the last three weeks, has an ambitious first-of-its-kind language immersion program in the works. But the school's computer lab was not sufficient to help the new program, principal Matthew Spottswood said.
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"We had one computer lab. It was outdated. It is used for testing the majority of the year." Spottswood said.
The Kloiber Foundation donated enough money so Cardinal Valley can purchase five mobile labs with 30 laptops each that can be used anywhere in the building.
"You can take that computer lab wherever you want to go, classroom, lunchroom, band room, because we do have wireless throughout the school," the principal said.
The Kloiber Foundation is a privately held non-profit family foundation trying to increase the effectiveness of technology in education.
"We look for schools who are willing to accept and use" proven methods for using technology to its best benefit, said David Kloiber, president of the Kloiber Foundation.
At the end of 2013, Kloiber Foundation began a new project in Fayette County. Working closely with the technology department for the school district, foundation officials provided a total of $100,000 or $25,000 each for the STEAM Academy, the Learning Center at Linlee, the Carter G. Woodson Academy, and Opportunity Middle College, Kloiber said.
The focus for all of the programs is to provide college and career readiness for students who choose to pursue an alternate, innovative approach to education, Kloiber said.
At Cardinal Valley, 75 percent of students are Hispanic, 95 percent receive free and reduced-price lunches and about 400 of the approximately 600 students have language deficiencies in English.
Under the new program, called dual language, Hispanic kindergarten students who don't speak English will be placed in classes together and receive 80 percent of their instruction in Spanish, the language they know. Twenty percent of their instruction will be in English, a language they are learning. Their teacher will be bilingual.
Kloiber said he and other leaders in the foundation found the immersion program idea innovative and asked Spottswood if he was interested in a partnership.
"Mr. Spottswood said he was very willing to work with us. We can come in and try and give them some of the basics that they need, we can give them some of our expertise."
He said the foundation could help with teacher training.
The 150 new computers will be used in a variety of ways, including to teach typing, software programs such as Power Point and Excel, math and reading, and to serve students who are above grade level and need more innovative assignments, Spottswood said.
Spottswood said as a result of the donation, the school can now use money that it had previously set aside to buy computers to buy "software specifically designed for English language learners and closing the achievement gap."
"We are blessed in Fayette County to have a wonderful and supportive community that steps forward regularly to support our schools in so many ways. This donation to Cardinal Valley will help augment the state money we receive for technology so that we can help ensure our students have access to the technology they will be required to use as adults in the workplace," Shelton said.